Lax price regulation for cancer drugs: Pharma companies earn Rs 1.7 B annual profit – Rajitha
By Treshan Fernando
Pharmaceutical companies have earned a staggering profit of Rs 1.7 billion annually as a result of lax price regulation for cancer drugs, SJB MP Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday (1), at the Office of the Opposition Leader.
The MP stated that when he was the Minister of Health, a Gazette to regulate the prices of drugs, including anti-cancer drugs was in operation. He said, despite this Gazette the Government is no longer following those regulations. As a result, the MP pointed out that the pharmaceutical companies were taking advantage of this lax pricing system and earning excessive profit.
He slammed the Government, saying that a supposed pharmaceutical zone in Hambantota was to be set up but Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has no information about it. In addition, the Government claimed to have instituted a saline plant but the 2015 government that was in power has already set up such a plant
“Manufacturing pharmaceuticals is not like producing green gram. The Government is claiming publicity for the work we carried out,” Senaratne said.
He said, despite the Ministry of Health identifying certain stocks of coconut oil as carcinogenic, the Customs still released the goods to the market. Some of those stocks of coconut oil have been found in Dankotuwa and may have even been sold island-wide, added Senaratne.
In response to a story in the Mawbima newspaper published on 31 March regarding acts of fraud at the Ministry of Health during the previous government, the MP said that even after multi-national pharmaceutical companies took the issue to court, the Court of Appeal found that the decision taken to regulate prices was correct.
“No Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimisation decision has jurisdiction over the Court of Appeal,” Senaratne said.